As a new era of IndyCar Series racing dawns this weekend at Florida’s Homestead-Miami Speedway after the recent unification of American open wheel racing, coverage of the series also will reach new heights this year as ESPN televises all races in high definition for the first time.
ESPN2 will have live coverage of the XM Indy 300 from the 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, March 29, at 8 p.m. ET, and all events in the series will appear on the ESPN networks.
The 2007 Indianapolis 500 on ESPN on ABC was the first IndyCar Series event to be televised in HD, and all cameras used in ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage in 2008 will be HD, including in-car cameras and those used in the pits and for other points of view. Included will be a new, high-tech HD onboard camera that can provide a rotating 360-degree view.
“For the viewer at home, it’s going to be spectacular, especially the on-boards in high definition, and the new 360 camera," said Marty Reid, beginning his third season as lead announcer for ESPN’s coverage of the IndyCar Series. “It’s going to be a great look."
Former winning IndyCar Series driver Scott Goodyear, beginning his eighth season as an analyst on ESPN’s IndyCar Series coverage, expects fans to have an elevated experience with the HD coverage and the new camera.
“I think the neat thing for me after so many years of driving all types of different cars is we now have an opportunity to give the viewer at home the complete pass," Goodyear said. “With the 360 camera you get to see the setup, the initial part of the pass and then follow-through all the way to the front, without having to switch cameras.
“To me, that’s going to be exciting because it allows the viewer to really get a feel for the driver in the cockpit and what he’s feeling, whether he’s the driver being passed or the driver doing the passing," he said. “And then to have it in HD to bring out the color and excitement of it just makes it even better."
ESPN’s announcer team for the 2008 IndyCar Series season also features pit reporters Jack Arute, Brienne Pedigo and Vince Welch, all returning from 2007. “I think it’s the same as any other team, no matter what sport you’re talking about," Reid said. “Everybody plays a key role. Our crew chief is our producer and it takes a lot of people to put us on the air. Having the same crew and the familiarity with the teams, and now with the unification, that’s going to help in that process as well."
Reid and Goodyear will host a one-hour special previewing the 2008 IndyCar Series season. The program airs Friday, March 28, at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
With the recent merger of the IndyCar Series and the Champ Car World Series, new drivers and teams are joining the IndyCar Series and many will make their debut at Homestead.
“I think all the drivers will tell you the same thing: a race car is a race car, and if you can drive any type of race car, you can sit in something else and get very familiar with it very quickly," Goodyear said. “There are great teams and drivers on both sides of this line, and I think everybody’s going to have a chance of winning these races very soon."